Minister predicts economic growth

The Minister of Economy says UAE will defy IMF and World Bank predictions to post GDP growth of 3.2 per cent this year

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The Minister of Economy today predicted 3.2 per cent growth in GDP in the UAE this year, several percentage points above forecasts from the IMF and the World Bank. Speaking at the Global Dubai Tea Forum, Sultan al Mansouri said the economy had grown by 1.3 per cent last year, a rate that would accelerate this year because of an improving global economic climate and oil prices that remained at about US$80 a barrel. Crude oil traded at above $81 a barrel yesterday.

"The difficult side of it is behind us," Mr al Mansouri said. "Now we are moving on. If you look at the price of oil, it's going up. That's a positive sign that GDP should grow." The IMF and World Bank have recently forecast flat growth for the UAE economy this year. The IMF in January said the country's economy had shrunk by 0.7 per cent last year, and foresaw a growth rate of close to zero this year.

Mr al Mansouri declined to predict GDP growth for Dubai or the other individual emirates until the Dubai Government-owned group Dubai World has settled a US$26 billion (Dh95.49bn) debt restructuring.